Monday, October 31, 2011

Hymn Tune Introits

It occurs to me that there is a way to combine the joy of singing hymns, with the deeper riches that are gained by mining the proper texts of the Catholic liturgy--and in the process, to write something liturgically useful.

What if the entrance procession of Mass began with a single verse, an antiphon, set to a familiar hymn tune? The congregation could sing the antiphon just as easily as singing any hymn. After the antiphon, the choir would sing the first verse of a Psalm, set to a Psalm tone. Then back to the congregation for a repeat of the antiphon. This antiphony would continue throughout the procession, ending with a rousing Gloria Patri, set to the same hymn tune.

Here are some early drafts of Hymn Tune Introits for the Sundays of Advent, all in "Church meter" or Long Meter, iambic.

Advent 1

To you, O Lord, I lift my soul
I trust in You, save me from shame.
Let not my foes boast over me.
Save those who trust in you from shame. -or- Protect the ones who trust your name.

Advent 2

Let Zion's people see the Lord
Who comes to set the nations free.
The Lord will sound His glorious voice.
Your heart will hear Him joyfully.

Advent 3

Rejoice at all times in the Lord.
Be glad, rejoice, I say again.
Let your unselfishness be seen.
Indeed, the Lord is near at hand.

Advent 4:

Let dew fall down from heav'n above.
O clouds, rain down the Righteous One.
And let the earth be opened up,
And let the longed-for Savior come.


Ben said...

This is a splendid idea: I hope you don't mind if I link to this post on my own blog, where I've been musing (for the benefit of an audience almost in double figures!) on ways of singing the Introit.

Kathleen Pluth said...

Thanks, Ben! Please feel free to link, copy, anything you'd like. I got the idea from a parish in Paris. They sang a verse from St. Paul to a hymn tune, antiphonally with a Psalm. Seemed like it really worked as congregational singing, and as a processional form.